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Frugal on the Road...In San Francisco

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip -- Vol. 4 #12 - April 2001

As I write this, we've just returned from a nine-day family vacation in San Francisco and the Bay Area...one of the best family trips we've ever had--and we've proven once again that a great vacation can still be cheap.

Here are a few pointers:

* Take advantage of low airfares. We paid $210 apiece to fly round trip from Hartford to San Francisco, a deal we found on the Southwest Airlines website (one of several great cheap airfare sites, some of which I've covered in back issues of this tipsheet)

* Keep meal costs reasonable. For the four of us, the meals we paid for (there were many we didn't, for one reason or another) generally ran $15-$25 total, not counting tip ($3.75-$6.25 per person). Strategies included choosing the right restaurants, sharing entrees, and ordering carefully--oh yes, and drinking water rather than more expensive liquids. We did splurge on two meals that were $50 and $51 ($12.50/$12.75 per person), including tip; one of those was for lunch at a restaurant known internationally as one of the finest places for vegetarian cuisine in the world--would have cost a great deal more for dinner. And when we got hungry in an overpriced beach resort, we had to pay $32 for a rather inferior meal. Still, our food budget for the entire trip came in quite affordably at around $300--or $8.35 per person per day.

* Use a homestay network. Eight of the nine nights, we stayed either with friends or with members of our homestay group. Cost was zero for those nights. We did pay for one night's lodging at a youth hostel, $72 for the four of us, a five-minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf with a view of San Francisco Bay and free parking.

* Find free and low-cost attractions. Other than San Francisco's Exploratorium, for which we paid full admission, most of the other things we did were free or very cheap: $2 or $3 for a park admission here and there, mostly. We did a lot of nature/outdoor activities, including walks through a butterfly habitat, several magnificent redwood groves, and fascinating tidepools along the beach.

The HOW of all this is laid out in detail in my book, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook--including a directory of some 20 homestay and home exchange organizations. Please visit http://www.frugalfun.com/pphtoc.html for more info.

_______
EXCITING NEWS--I'M A FINALIST!
My book, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, is a finalist for ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year. I am absolutely thrilled! While *I* knew the book combined fabulous content with exquisite appearance and great editing, it's really nice to have it recognized by a prominent independent publishing magazine. If I win, I'll tell you in the July issue.

Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
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